With the calendar turning over to February and the 2021 baseball season quickly approaching, let’s take a look at the NC State Wolfpack team that will take the field this season.
- In Part I of this series, we took a look back at the 2020 season and the players who are no longer with the program.
- In Part II of is series, we looked at the returnees from that 2020 team.
- Part III will look at the newcomers for 2021.
- Part IV will take a look at the schedule and opponents for the Wolfpack this season.
So let’s get started!
The NCAA’s decision to not count the 2020 season against eligibility for any players was a much appreciated - and correct (rare for the NCAA) - move on their behalf, but the downstream impacts will be felt for several years as teams deal with a roster crunch of eligible players. This is already being felt in 2021 as only 2020 seniors are allowed to count above the 35-man roster limit.
For NC State, that means the 2021 roster will be comprised of 36 players (maybe 37 if the NCAA allows Dalton Feeney to count as a 2020 senior even though it was his redshirt junior season).
More on that later, though. For now, let’s look at the 13-man class of newcomers for the Wolfpack in 2021:
- Danny Carnazzo (C - Jr)
- Cameron Arnold (LHP - Fr)
- Bryce Behmer (C - Fr)
- Trey Cooper (LHP - Fr)
- Eddie Eisert (INF - Fr)
- Carson Falsken (INF - Fr)
- Coby Ingle (RHP/OF - Fr)
- Cooper King (RHP/INF - Fr)
- John Miralia (LHP - Fr)
- Connor Monroe (RHP/INF - Fr)
- Garrett Payne (RHP - Fr)
- Tristan Sipple (LHP - Fr)
- Trey Truitt (OF - Fr)
Danny Carnazzo is the lone JUCO player in the class (JUCO players, by the way, also did not have the 2020 season counted against their eligibility, which is why the influx of JUCO players into the college ranks is less this year). He’s not as big as your typical catcher, but offers more pop than you’d expect from his frame, while his offensive approach should translate well to the ACC level. In 2019, he slashed .323/.419/.437 with 11 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 32 R, 28 RBI, 29 BB, 27 K, and 3 SB in 204 PAs. In 2020, he slashed .369/.476/.595 with 10 2B, 3 HR, 19 R, 18 RBI, 16 BB, 13 K, and 3 SB in just 103 PAs. Defensively, he moves naturally behind the plate with great blocking skills. While Luca Tresh is projected as the starter, Carnazzo should earn his fair share of opportunities behind the dish.
Also joining the backstop brigade this year is Bryce Behmer, a more traditionally-built power-hitting right-handed hitting prep catcher from Pennsylvania. With Tresh and Carnazzo in the fold, this will likely be a redshirt year for Behmer as he refines his defensive abilities and gets into the college strength and conditioning program.
Eddie Eisert and Carson Falsken are the future left side of the infield for NC State, but with Jose Torres manning shortstop this year, they’ll both battle with incumbent Vojtech Mensik for the starting third base job. Eisert is one of the top rated freshman in the ACC for 2021 and has a the big, power frame you’d expect out of a top 3B prospect. Both are switch-hitters and highly athletic, but Falsken has the quicker feet and hands defensively that should move him to SS in the future. Eisert is a more natural right-handed hitter with an up-the-middle approach that generates lots of power, while Falsken has more of an all-fields approach with more natural feel from the left side.
Trey Truitt was an East Carolina commitment and enrolled with the Pirates last fall, but who transferred to NC State in January. He’s a physically gifted, athletic, left-handed hitting outfielder with some absolute power in his bat. It’s unclear if he’ll be eligible this year, but even without him, the Wolfpack have a lot of depth in the outfield this year.
Coby Ingle, Cooper King, and Connor Monroe are all listed as two-way players, and while all three can swing the stick, the future for each of them is likely on the mound.
Ingle is a 6’2 right-handed pitcher with a ton of upside as he fills out his frame. Features a three-pitch mix and a low-90’s fastball that has the potential to jump in velo in a big way with added muscle.
King is a 6’3 right-handed pitcher with a lanky build, but room to add muscle and velo to his high-80’s/low-90’s fastball. Had a bit of a Roy Halladay-ish delivery after his hand-break; deceptive and effective. Both Ingle and King tossed no-hitters in their abbreviated 2020 high school seasons.
Monroe is another talented 6’2 right-handed pitcher with a low-90’s fastball who will do well with some time in the Wolfpack’s strength and conditioning program. Will be interesting to see the leaps he’s made since his 2019 high school season was his first back from a major arm injury and his 2020 season was all but wiped out. Features a good curve and a promising change.
Cameron Arnold isn’t the most imposing pitcher on the mound with his size or velocity, but the lefty has an amazing curve that lets his fastball play up. He also has very good accuracy from a nice repeatable low-effort delivery. He may not get a ton of innings as a freshman, but he should get plenty of opportunities.
Like Arnold, Trey Cooper is a 5’11 left-handed pitcher, but with a stockier build, a higher-effort delivery, and a little more zip on his fastball. He features a curveball that can be great when it’s on.
Sipple is yet another 5’11 freshman lefty pitcher, but with a stockier build like Cooper. He flashes a high-80’s fastball that’s complemented by a solid breaking ball and a developing change up.
Just in case the team didn’t have enough height with 6’10 Austin Pace and 6’7 Kent Klyman, two more 6’7 pitchers enter the mix in 2021 for the Wolfpack. Garrett Payne is a right-hander with a very slender build and a relaxed delivery. He sits in the high-80’s currently, but obviously has lots of room to develop.
Miralia is a lefty who likely would have been drafted last year out of high school in a full MLB draft. He checks in at 240 lbs on his frame and features a low-90’s fastball that pairs with a big time 12-6 curve. If he can develop a consistent third pitch, he’s going to be dangerous.
Three commitments for the 2020 class aren’t on the roster for this season: Drew Fletcher, Jake Harwood, and Cooper Porter. Fletcher and Porter have both gone the JUCO route, enrolling at Louisburg and Pensacola State, respectively.
For those keeping count at home, the 13 newcomers above plus 27 returnees brings the current roster to a total of 40 players. At most, NC State will be able to carry 37 players, which means three players will that have been detailed thus far won’t be on the final 2021 roster.